Paul backers spoiling for a fight
Party leaders would like to keep the focus of this week's Republican state convention in Houston on energizing grassroots supporters, setting party goals and promoting the GOP's presidential nominee-to-be, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.But supporters of one of the candidates beaten by McCain, Rep. Ron Paul of Surfside, want to make Texas the latest battleground in their never-say-die movement to change the party platform and send more of their delegates to the national convention.
They've attended conventions in other states -- some with success, other times being shut out of the process -- trying to put their representatives in leadership positions."If Ron Paulers show up in greater numbers than social conservatives, they could take over the whole convention -- not because they represent the majority of the state, but because they showed up in greater numbers," said Paul Stockard, a Fort Worth delegate and vice chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party.
"They are very organized. They can make sure that as many of their people as possible get through and what's left -- the scraps -- the other people will have," he said. "If they took over Texas, it would be a big coup for them."
In Nevada, Paul supporters overwhelmed the system and party leaders recessed the convention without adopting delegates. In areas from Hawaii to Colorado, party leaders essentially shut down Paul supporters, putting in place their original delegates and platforms.Paul supporters are expected to be among more than 11,000 party faithful who flock to Houston starting Thursday for a three-day convention featuring former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney as well as other speakers.
"Something outside our normal bounds is going on," said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor who specializes in presidential politics at the University of Texas at Austin. "This is a movement, an ideological movement, and they're trying to establish their presence."